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BillyMoore
User Rank
Gold
Gas is still better
BillyMoore   9/20/2012 2:14:33 PM
NO RATINGS
I've had trimmers powered by: gas, battery, and electric.  All have since gone to that tool shed in the sky.  Recently I moved from an apartment to a house, and had to acquire a new collection of yard equipment.  It's all gas powered (and I use ethanol-free gas).  Electric and battery powered sounds great (especially to an EE like me).  I know DC motors.  They're simple, and easy to repair... IF repair parts are available.  AND IF the housing can be disassembled.  When my battery powered trimmer died, it was the motor brushes.  Easy to fix, right?  The housing could not be non-destructively disassembled.  Same thing for the motor.  I'm also tired of moving power cords around the yard.  My current suburban lot requires a trip around the yard with an edger.  Then a trip with a trimmer.  Then a trip with a blower.  All of which would require multiple power cord moves between various outlets.  My time has value, too.

My current yard tools were purchased at local lawn & garden centers that have the ability to service their products.  They cost a little more, but I don't worry about my equipment being rendered useless by a $0.25 part.

Also, there's another option for ethanol free fuel.  It's called TruFuel, and is available at many lawn & garden and home repair centers.  It's quite costly at $5 per qt, but if the tool uses very little fuel, it's still cheaper than a repair every season.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: On-going design refreshes
Rob Spiegel   9/20/2012 2:01:55 PM
NO RATINGS
So the ethanol also destroys the fuel lines. I wasn't aware of that, Island_Al. I would think that would have been cause for a negative consumer reaction to the legislation.

bob from maine
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Throw away products...
bob from maine   9/20/2012 1:32:46 PM
NO RATINGS
kf2qd I agree. The gvt in their infinite wisdom decided Lead was bad, but engine manufacturers said the gasoline burned too fast and caused knocking, so to slow the 'bang' portion of the 4 cycles, they added MTBE, which slowed the burn process down and allowed us to maintain the high octane necessary; but the MTBE allowed gasoline to mix with water, so gas spills were polluting the ground water. Oh joy! Enthanol was found to be an acceptable octane booster and came from a yearly renewable source; wonderfully green! But, ethanol allows gasoline to mix with water and gas spills continue to mix with ground water, plus, an added bonus, ethanol can separate from gasoline and stratify inside a tank, and it is extremely reactive with many rubber and synthetic rubber products. 

Young people who want to learn to be a mechanic, machinist, plumber, electrician or builder are treated like they should ride on the short-bus. The trade-school portion of our schools is farmed-out to Technical Institutes because as parents we apparently don't want to spend money in our local schools for this small, underacheiving portion of our school population. Our interpretation of "no child left behind" rewards schools that place a high percentage of their graduates in college and penalizes those schools that place students in trade schools of one sort or another. I also have lathes and milling machines and build or repair things that are needed. What I can't build I can describe will enough for a good machinist to build for me. I could not afford to own antique cars, tractors, motorcycles, and boats without the ability to make stuff.

Our governments recent dollars-for-junkers program that took affordable, reliable, maintainable vehicles off the road was a travesty. Our purchase of the latest and greatest microprocessor controlled apple scrubber effectively rewards those manufacturers that place gee-whiz gizmos over reliable function. In both instances, we do have a vote. One with our pocket-book and the other in November.

RURC
User Rank
Iron
Re: material evolution
RURC   9/20/2012 1:13:02 PM
NO RATINGS
While you are correct somewhat in the connection to the natural rubber issue you must realize that there were a myriad of reasons that natural rubber was being used in Europe, and in many cases still is. But you as the car owner had the choice to buy the proper psroucts that would not damage the natural rubber. However if you chose to be an uninformed car owner you paid the price for your stupiditity.

With the ethanol you have NO choice. You, for the most part, are forced to take something that is damageing to your car and put it in. Forced to by the federal government and the nit wits that having never seen under the hood of a car have decided that this is good for you.

The environmantal impact is totally negated because to do the same work (BTU) it takes more of the ethanol based fuel to do it than straight gas. That is why your gas mileage is less. Another reason that car manufacturers are having a harder time to meet the mileage rules.

I could go on and on but suffice to say I know this story very well. This was a dumb ass idea before it was done and it is even dumber now. Just go to the groscery store and check out the prices. Most of the increase in price is due to ethanol.

RURC
User Rank
Iron
Re: On-going design refreshes
RURC   9/20/2012 1:03:04 PM
Talk about slow in the reporting. This should be old news to you. Ethanol is the single WORST thing ever to be done to our food system and fuel sypply. Take away food product (driving up the cost of almost all food at the grocery store) and then place the highly corrosive liquid, ethanol derived from corn mostly that WILL damage anything that uses gasoline. I am a master guilded Porsche and Audi technician as well as having master status in all ASE automotive certifications. I have been watching ethanol damage cars and everything  that has a gas motor for years.

Reguardless of the damage it does to your engine and the damage it does to our fuel systems the rest of the world is not this stupid. That is why you dont see massive redesigns to just meet the dumb ass American gas. These changes cose huge ammounts of money that the companies should not have be doing at all.

You should be beating down Washington in total for the criminal behavior they have done to you. If you are having problems with your lawn equipment in the way it runs chances it is caused by the fuel with ethanol. Look in you area find a gas station that sells ethanol free gas. I have 3 stations within 3 miles of my house. You will even get better fuel mileage in  your car.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: On-going design refreshes
Rob Spiegel   9/20/2012 12:52:55 PM
NO RATINGS
I agree, Tekochip. I have never found the electric to be a restriction. Over the years, my yards haven't been gigantic, so being tethered hasn't been a problem.

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Throw away products...
Larry M   9/20/2012 12:45:05 PM
NO RATINGS
Island Al writes "...but cannot accept the reality that I can't fix it!  Everything these days has u-controllers, even my washing machine."

Ahh, Al, an FPGA is a tough nut to crack, but don't give up just because you sniff electronics. My 1984 washing machine had the electronics board (with microcontroller) start misbehaving a few years ago. Very expensive board and you can't get it any more. But a little digging at the board and the service material stuffed into the control panel led me to find that a discrete triac had failed. That part number was no longer manufactured either, but I was able to find one with equivalent specifcations and the same case size for 39 cents. I've been using it for almost four years since with no problems.

I envy you guys with the lathes and milling machines. I haven't had access to those since I was a lab tech in college, nearly 50 years ago. I have to beg friends for help. But just wait. When 3D printers get just a little cheaper I'll be back in the game.

Larry M
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Mine too!
Larry M   9/20/2012 12:31:31 PM
NO RATINGS
Lawnmowers too. They used to use a needle and brass seat for the carburetor float bowl.  (This bowl fills with gasoline to a specific level. To maintain that level an arrangement is used that is functionally similar to that in a toilet tank.) Maybe 10 or 15 years ago, well after the introduction of ethanol) the manufacturers changed the seat from brass to Viton, a flexible plastic.

If you use pure gasoline, no problem.  But if you use E10 (10 % ethanol), after a few years the bowl slowly overfills, because the Viton is affected by the acohol. This doesn't cause a problem when starting or running, because the leak is so slow. But when you are done and park the mower, the entire tank empties. Ever notice your mower doing this--the tank is empty every time you go to use it?

Where does it go? No smell.  No gasoline on the garage floor. Why? Because it flows into the carburetor, then into the valve gallery, and then into...the crankcase. Ever notice that the mower never seems to be low on oil? In fact it seems to be gaining oil? Well, that ain't oil. It's gasoline, and it's not a good lubricant. When I went to pick up a new Viton seat, the mower service center operator remarked that he had seen many motors destroyed because the oil was so diluted with gasoline.

Local service centers won't sell you just the seat. They will charge $15-25 for a complete parts kit. But you can buy the seats for a dollar or two on the internet.

Island_Al
User Rank
Gold
Re: Throw away products...
Island_Al   9/20/2012 10:58:08 AM
NO RATINGS
@kf2qd: Love it!  I too have a lathe and a small milling attachment that has saved me more money than the machine originally cost me. I have had it so long that I didn't even think about it until your post.  If I need a bushing, adapter, or spacer, I simply make one in less time than it would take to go on-line and find the 'correct' part.  Some of my stuff is so old no replacement parts have been available for fifty years. Now I'm putting together a home foundary to make some castings I need. Lots of videos on youtube on this subject.

I taught all 6 of my kids how to use tools, but my 3 girls don't like getting dirty!  At least they understand (hopefully) what they are looking at. They all carry duct tape and WD40 in their cars (the handymans secret weapons) to make it home where they each have precision calipers.  Then I often get the call "dad- can you make me a ....?"  Letting me off the hook is they mostly drive new cars these days while I still drive old ones.

Yes most things these days are throw away units. I recently had a rack mount flat screen that failed. Inside was a FPLA that controlled everything and it was bad. But I hate to throw away a $1000 equipment part, but cannot accept the reality that I can't fix it!  Everything these days has u-controllers, even my washing machine.

redandgearhead
User Rank
Silver
Re: Used alcohol for years in karting
redandgearhead   9/20/2012 10:07:58 AM
NO RATINGS
Corn cartel spreading lots of money to both parties.

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